There’s been a LOT of chatter lately regarding Facebook Groups and Facebook pages. And in case you haven’t noticed, there has been a HUGE increase in ministry leaders who are creating groups in order to engage more with their audiences on a regular basis. Why? Because the organic reach on Facebook pages has dramatically decreased, and like you, leaders are getting tired of posting on a regular basis and not seeing any kind of engagement on their posts.
One of the most common questions I get is, “Does my church really need a Facebook page or can I just stick with having a group?”
This is a VERY common and popular question that many church leaders are asking. First off, let’s look at what Facebook pages and groups are.
According to Facebook, “pages are visible to everyone on the Internet by default. You, and every person on Facebook, can connect with these Pages by becoming a fan and then receive their updates in your News Feed and interact with them.”
“Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.”
So, what does this mean for you? It means that both are important and bot serve different purposes.
As a church leader, I believe you need both. First and foremost, you need a page. Why? Because having a page gives you the opportunity to create an awareness around your ministry. And one of the KEY functions of a Facebook page is to give people a glimpse of your church. Whether you realize it or not, people are checking out your Facebook page to see if it’s a church that they want to attend. Before they ever walk through the doors of your church, they will check you out on social media.
Also, a Facebook page allows others to find you and interact with your church. It allows you to see via insights if you are truly reaching your “target audience” while also seeing which posts of yours are getting the most engagement, which is SO very important to know because that alone tells you what it is that your audience wants to see more of.
Additionally, having a page allows you to advertise on Facebook and this is a MUST for any church. Having the ability to advertise on Facebook means that you not only create ads to bring your target audience to your ministry page, thus making them aware that it exists, but it also allows you to target people who have visited your website, people who are on your email list, ads that lead people to your freebie (and yes, churches should have a freebie) which in turn allows you to see how many conversions you receive. The advertising options on Facebook are endless and as a ministry leader, it’s one of those things that you must include in your budget and online strategy.
But even more importantly, having a page allows you to encourage the hearts of others on social media. Our world is desperate for hope and we have the unique opportunity as a church to share the hope of Jesus Christ on a regular basis with people all over the world. This alone should be the #1 reason why every church should have an active, engaging Facebook page.
Groups are another great tool that will allow you to connect even deeper with the members of your church. Having a group is a great way to build those relationships around a specific ministry from your church. This can include: small group leaders, small group members, volunteers, parents, etc. But here is the key: If you are going to have a group, make sure that you are devoted to giving it the time that it will need. You will need to think through a “Group Strategy” before going live. This strategy includes things like:
- Group Name: Choosing a group name that will appeal to your audience and who the group is for.
- Group Goals: What goals do you have for this group? This will help you decide how you want to move forward with you group and what your group will “look like.”
- Group Description: Deciding and writing out what your group is all about while also letting others know the “rules” of the group. Yes, you will need to set some boundaries in place.
- Group Settings: Deciding whether or not your group will be a closed group or a secret group. A closed group means that anyone can find the group and see who’s in it, but only members can see posts. A secret group is a group where only members can find the group and see the posts. The answer to this question depends on your goals for the group.
- Membership Settings: Also, what kind of membership will you have? Will you allow any group member to add and approve new members or will you require that an admin or moderator approve member requests first? Personally, I would require that an admin approve the requests first.
- Daily Themes: Deciding what you will post each day. Many groups have specific “themes” for each day. Themes like Motivational Monday, Transformational Tuesday, Wednesday Wisdom, Thursday Thoughts, etc. You need to decide upfront if your group will have daily prompts, themes, etc.
- Group Posting: Deciding if you will allow anyone in the group to post to the group at any time. If you do this, know that you will have to keep a consistent “eye” on your group because at times, groups tend to take a “turn” if you’re not careful. Meaning, it can turn into a complaining, whining, negative atmosphere. If you leave it open to posts and Facebook live videos (Yes, people can go live in your group), then just know upfront, it’s a commitment to keep your group running well. Know too that you can set your group to where people can only comment on your posts. Knowing the answer to this goes back to your goals for the group.
As you can see, both Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups not only offer a lot in different ways, but in my opinion they are both needed for your church.
I would LOVE to hear from you below. Are you considering creating a Facebook group in addition to your Facebook page? Why or why not? If you do have a group, what are the biggest challenges that you are facing?